If you're still reading this silliness, here is part eight:
Then I graduated from school and found a job. By that time, she was pregnant with twins, a circumstance having been accomplished with fertility drugs. We decided that I would go to the US, get working, and come back in time for the birth of the kids. And with that, I headed out. I had a contract in hand to be a second engineer on a project that was to start in a few days.
At this point, I'll make an observation - my parents had kindly volunteered to let my wife stay with them while I was gone, as they had just done some remodeling and had combined two bedrooms into one in their home. So that was the plan. This lasted only a few days though, as she went stir crazy and my parents drove her crazy. She bailed out and went back to live with her parents, who, you will remember lived close to where we were living, and where all of our "friends" were as well. It's odd I think that my family took her in while I was a missionary, but now she had a hard time dealing with them.
By the time I GOT to the US, she was out of there, living at her parents' home. Which is fine, but this was a harbinger of things to come. And here's what I know now: there was a history of chemical balance issues that seems plain to me now, but was not clear then. And while I don't blame her for this, it turned out out be one of the major reasons we are no longer married. This was also a major factor that contributed to a situation that manifested itself in other aspects of life that made things eventually untenable and unbearable for me.
If it were the only thing, perhaps I could have worked through it. But it was really only the tip of the iceberg. And we all know the tip of the iceberg is connected to the rest of the iceberg. Some of those iceberg things that were underwater, but no less damaging, were things like the very palpable and real guilt that resulted from the death of her younger sister at age 11 or so. She felt that in order to see her once again and be with her, she needed to be perfect. And being perfect meant that she had to have the perfect family in fact. She ruled family life in this direction through guilt, verbal abuse, and derision to an extent that it ruined family life over the long haul. She felt compelled to be perfect, and therefore sought to coerce uber-righteousness from all the rest of the family members. I don't respond well to duty-by-guilt, or coercion, so I often pushed back.
My life was miserable, both from a personal, and a church standpoint. I had been in leadership positions for several years, and in fact I've voted to excommunicate more people than I ever baptized, which is something that troubles me greatly. Who was I to judge these people's lives? There are lots of bad experiences I could share here, but suffice it to say that the combination of a bad home life, along with an over enthusiastic church leader, I was pretty much in hell.
She never worked after having kids, and I was left to earn the living for the family, which I did the best I could, my career has served me decently well, though I am not a doctor, lawyer or accountant, something I was reminded of on a surprisingly regular schedule, if even by intimation. I often think that if she had decided to get a job, she would have been happier with herself, and that would have made her happier with everyone else. Being the sole breadwinner, I was forced to seek employment with the only requirement being income, rather than job satisfaction, which led me to have a somewhat circuitous career path. There were jobs I had which I loathed. But my income has always grown year over year - for the most part. There have been difficult years, but there have been good years too.
There are so many more examples of the degradation I endured, the times I was made to feel inadequate, times I was yelled at and berated, then propped up to look like I should be the next leader of the local denomination, the times where intimations and undertones were more meaningful than the actual words spoken. I endured for perhaps a few more years than I really should have, but when there are children concerned, you do everything you can to suck it up. But it never got better, and there were times that I had thoughts of hurting myself, and certainly thoughts of hurting her. I've never hit a woman, nor will I ever, but damn, was I tempted to on more than one occasion. At the end, there was no joy in any facet of my life.
I left after having been physically abused for the third time. The Bible says we are to forgive someone 70 times 7 times. I couldn't make it past three, and perhaps that's my failing.